Asian Champions League: Al Ahli to meet Naft Tehran in quarter-finals

Asian Champions League: Al Ahli to meet Naft Tehran in quarter-finals
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Published June 19th, 2015 - 01:05 GMT via

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2015 AFC Asian Champions League quarter-finals draw
2015 AFC Asian Champions League quarter-finals draw

Dubai’s Al Ahli were on Thursday drawn to play Naft Tehran of Iran in the quarter-finals of the 2015 AFC Asian Champions League.

The draw, held in Kuala Lumpur, pitted the UAE’s lone remaining representative against the Iranian champions away on August 26 and in Dubai on September 16.

Al Ahli made it to the last-eight by beating fellow UAE side Al Ain on away goals following a drab goalless draw at home and an entertaining 3-3 result in the Garden City.

Al Ahli are one of the most successful clubs in the UAE, winning six league titles, most recently in the 2013-14 season.

As league champions in 2009, Al Ahli became the only UAE side to qualify for the Fifa Club World Cup when it was hosted by Abu Dhabi. However, they lost to Auckland City of New Zealand 2-0 in their only match of the competition.

Naft also required the away-goals rule to win their opening knockout tie, beating Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Tehran before losing 2-1 in Jeddah.

Whoever wins this tie will go on to face either Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia or Lekhwiya of Qatar in the semi-finals.

Naft, who were founded in 1950 and are owned by the National Iranian Oil Company, play at the 30,000-capacity Takhti Stadium in Tehran. This is their first season in the Asian Champions League.

Before their recent success, the club had only a few supporters, who were mostly National Iranian Oil Company workers.

Naft have finished third in the Iranian league in each of the last two seasons and were runners-up in the Hazfi Cup in the last campaign.

Of the quarter-finalists, only Japan have two clubs — Kashiwa Reysol and Gamba Osaka — while Qatar, Saudi Arabia, China, South Korea, Iran and the UAE boast one team each.

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